Overall, as Horse Tales: Emerald Valley Ranch joins the ever-growing list of horse games, it's certainly one you should check out for yourself. Is it perfect? No. The bugs are annoying, but hopefully patches will deal with them. Aside from the teething problems, you'll find yourself getting lost in this game as you want to explore every nook and cranny, collect resources, expand your ranch, help the locals, and breed new horses.
If you don’t think the idea of becoming best friends with horses and just hanging out with them on an island sounds fun, you won’t enjoy this game. But if it’s going to tap into that same part of childlike wonder that I felt from the moment I loaded it up and chose my first horse, then it could be for you.
I recently discovered this captivating horse game, and it has been a truly delightful experience. Restoring my aunt's ranch and exploring the enchanting open world kept me engaged and entertained. Taming, breeding, and personalizing my horses added depth and strategy to the gameplay. If you're seeking a heartwarming adventure, this horse game is a must-try!
I literally only made a Metacritic account to review this game.
Is the game perfect? No. Is it fun, entertaining, and have some really cool mechanics? Absolutely. Most of the people who are giving it bad reviews have not taken the time to get used to the mechanics. I will admit that the game could do a better job of pacing, specifically in introducing new concepts like grooming, washing, changing tack/clothes, etc.
I'm not saying it's great, but it is certainly a step in the right direction for horse games. If you've been a horse person and gamer for as long as I have, you know the struggle of finding a halfway decent horse game that doesn't cost you tons of money (looking at you, micro-transactions).
I'm giving this game such a good rating because I want to see the developers follow through on it! It has such great potential, I would hate to see them give up on it. So if someone who has a hand in this game is reading this, I'm a fan! Great work! Now just to really refine it and add some more content
Horse Tales: Emerald Valley Ranch is a sad tale for the much-needed resurgence of equestrian-focused video games. Littered with poor design choices and endless amounts of bugs, every attempt to seep some joy out of the game was hindered. This comes as a shame. The bones of a good game are in there from the exploration of an interconnected world to a good start in both horse gameplay and town management and restoration. Boiling down to more than just a game released too early, Horse Tales also is a game too ambitious for its own good and not what was expected or needed. Take this one out to the pasture, they’re done.
I know that, as a middle-aged man, I’m clearly not the target audience for a game about rebuilding your family estate and bonding with your horse. At the same time, though, I can’t imagine that the people who would be interested in that would want to put up with it, either. Horse Tales plays poorly and performs even worse, and it’s bound to disappoint anyone who picks it up.
So I absolutely love this game I’ve been playing at nonstop for a couple days now but my only vice is that I cannot get any farther with beating Lilli Felix. And I will admit I am in no means the best video gamer ever. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy playing the games. I think I’m more frustrated with the fact that I have tried very hard to beat her. And managed to at one point and it still wouldn’t let me continue onto the next phase. I don’t know what’s going on but I am very frustrated with the fact that it seems as though the times are getting harder and harder. And it’s constantly changing.
I'm not saying the other person that's reviewed this is lying, but this is nowhere near the bad game that they've described. It needs some work, yes, but hopefully with a few patches it'll be even better. If you've suffered with all the bad horse games in the past, this game is actually fun! Don't take my word for it, there's videos up on YouTube, you can see for yourself.
It’s not necessarily a bad game but it feels incredibly unfinished.
Some of the animations are really odd - opening chests is a stand out point, where you wave a hand and it explodes. Some actions don’t end in a satisfying or obvious way - like petting your horse. When the bar is full, the action doesn’t close; when you do end petting a bit of short music happens but not in time to the animation on the horse; and nothing on screen indicates what this did for you. In fact nothing so far is satisfying to do in this game.
The order the content is delivered is also baffling. I could build benches on the ranch before I knew how to wash my dirty horse or find food for it, and without knowing if they were just cosmetic or functional. The game was telling me about competition stats before I even knew where the ranch was. I’d slept in a tent before knowing anything about dealing with the horse I’d left wandering about! I’ve played bad, early 2000s horse games before, and even Pippa Funnell’s Take the Reins introduces mechanics and story in a more understandable way. A blurry clown (?) child telling me how to build bridges but nothing about horses pretty much sums up how weird the game’s priorities are.
The most frustrating parts are the user interface and control scheme. It’s never obvious what is a click or a press and hold; whether increasing speed will actually work the same way twice is a mystery unto some malevolent god; and you never know what speed you’re at (so far, this might change in competition). Is that an extended trot or just a badly animated walk?
Horse Tales feels like a soulless alpha build of the game, and while patches will probably help graphics or stability, I’d be surprised if they completely change the entire introduction or rework half the UI. See if you can find real gameplay of the beginning segment of the game before picking this up. My one hope is that the actual horse elements prove better than the shoddy graphics, plot, and awkward ranch building.
EDIT: The bugs have also locked me into never finishing the game. Quest 'Who is Lilli' never moves on even when her score is beaten, despite this being on a list of bug fixes for the PC version.
Not too bad to be honest, it's just very unfinished, bugged to the max... claims to be suitable for all ages but I cannot beat lilli in the race lol
Camera is TERRIBLE too... Between racing, angling the camera, jumping and ducking I find it difficult to play
Hope they can fix this
You can't even play the game because of the bugs and lags. The performance on the switch is very bad and it looks, sounds and feels like a twenty year old game. And for real, I couldn't even finish the first race because of the bugs so I could not progress with the story. Isn't this game for a younger audience as well? Devs you owe me 40€ and 4 hours of my life.
SummaryA holiday at your aunt's place turns out to be far from what you expected: the family's once prestigious estate has fallen into disrepair and you are stranded there...
Embark on a delightful adventure to befriend the peninsula's residents and freely explore the vast wilderness around you! Breed and tame horses, train them and compete in...